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Graduate Assistantships: Democracy Program

  • Voters stood for hours in long lines at a polling station in Ngong, on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya, on Aug. 8, 2017. The Carter Center deployed an international delegation to observe Kenya's contentious elections. (Photo: The Carter Center)

The Carter Center's Democracy Program (DP) seeks a qualified graduate student for the 2018-2019 session to conduct research and analysis related to several DP projects focusing on indicators and measures for assessing the integrity of elections, both as a whole and through several key individual variables related to election quality. Assessments of electoral integrity are an important means of providing credible and unbiased information about the quality of elections. Such information shapes perceptions about electoral quality held by key domestic and international audiences and provides a road map for electoral reform.

DP has been working on several long-term collaborative projects regarding data and methodologies for assessing key issues of electoral integrity, and the DP graduate assistant will work directly with the program director on this research. The overall aim of the research is to develop consistent sets of indicators and measures for the assessment of electoral integrity and democratic transitions more broadly. The graduate assistant will be expected to study, understand, and expand on the research conducted so far by the DP on assessing electoral integrity. This includes a collection of various indicators and data-types that election observation groups, academic analysts, and others used to assess the quality of elections. It also includes research summaries of case-study reviews of elections and comparisons of different sets of indicators in relation to these case studies.

A related sub-project is to work with the director and colleagues to conduct research regarding data and indicators for violence against women in elections (VAWE), to support an initiative that DP is working on in collaboration with other practitioner and academic institutions.

Project benchmarks and deliverables include:

  • Produce 1-2 background documents summarizing key research issues and findings in the literature, possibly suitable as briefings for DP workshops on election integrity, and/or violence against women in elections (WAVE). Key benchmarks for review will be completion of first drafts of the background documents, assessed through weekly meetings with DP director.
  • Produce 1-2 research papers on topics focused on measures and indicators of election integrity, and/or violence against women in elections (VAWE), of sufficient quality to deliver at an academic conference, possibly via the Electoral Integrity Project (EIP).
  • Key benchmarks for review will be completion of draft research paper proposals, and detailed annotated outline for the proposed paper(s) assessed through weekly meetings with DP director.


  • Must be a currently enrolled graduate or professional student.
  • Must have strong research, writing, and analytical skills.
  • Must have a demonstrated interest in democratic elections, democracy and governance, and/or democratic transitions and awareness of the current literature and key issues.
  • Should have completed at least one graduate course focused on democracy and elections, or democracy promotion, and be familiar with key literature of democracy and elections.
  • Experience with public international law is a plus, as is practical experience in international democracy assistance and/or election observation. 

Compensation: $14/hour

See application deadlines »

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Graduate Assistantship


(August Start)
Application Open: Feb. 1-March 30

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